German athlete Jan Hempel, a 1996 Atlanta Olympic silver medalist in diving, a two-time World Championships medalist and a four-time European champion, said he was sexually abused by his coach Werner Langer for 14 years. Violence began when Hempel was 11 years old. He spoke about this in the documentary of the ARD TV channel.
According to the athlete, the German Swimming Federation ignored his complaints.
“The federation told me that our sport would be in jeopardy if I talked about it and I couldn’t do it. Of course, at that time I had goals in sports and I wanted to achieve them ... I think we have an obligation to talk about this for the sake of others and for the future, ”Jan Hempel said in the ARD film ( quoted by AP) .
He also documented claims by other former swimmers of violent acts by unnamed coaches in the sport.
The German Swimming Federation later reacted to the film and stated that it was "deeply disturbed by the description of the horrific experiences of the victims of sexual abuse". The federation apologized to the victims, reports AP.
Coach Werner Langer was suspended in 1997 following a complaint by Jan Hempel, however, according to the athlete, the coach was suspended not because of allegations of sexual abuse, but because of suspicions that he had previously worked for the Ministry of State Security of the GDR (Stasi) . In 2001, Werner Langer committed suicide.
Following the film's release, the German Swimming Federation suspended diving coach Lutz Buschkow, who Hempel stated knew of Langer's abuse. But the leadership of the swimming federation stated that they had no evidence that Bushkov knew about the harassment.